Ever since exoplanets were first discovered in the 1990s, astronomers have dreamed of finding an Earth-like planet amongst the stars. Better detection techniques have allowed us to find smaller and smaller exoplanets. But when we spot a planet beyond our Solar System, does “Earth-sized” really mean “Earth-like?” A new study presented at this week’s American Astronomical Society meeting shows that the smallest exoplanets are much more likely to be similar to Earth than we thought.
It’s been two days since AirAsia Flight 8501 disappeared over the Java Sea, and still there’s no sign of the missing plane or the 162 people aboard. It is, of course, all but impossible to know at this point just what went wrong, but we do know the flight’s planned route to Singapore would have taken it through clusters of thunderstorms, and we know the crew moved west of their course to avoid clouds.
People hold beliefs for a complex variety of reasons. Some of these beliefs may be based on facts, but others may be based on ideas that can never be proved or disproven. For example, people who are against the death penalty might base their belief partly on evidence that the death penalty does not reduce violent crime (which could later be shown to be false), and partly on the notion that the death penalty violates a fundamental human right to life. The latter is an unfalsifiable belief, because it can’t be changed purely by facts.
NASA rover Curiosity is beavering away up on Mars, examining rocks, drilling holes, checking out the weather -- but it's not just up there to look at the planet's hospitability for humans. It's also looking for conditions favourable for life; not now, but in the past, when Mars may have been home to extraterrestrial microbes.
But maybe the answer is right here on Earth, after all -- in the form of a meteorite.
Is it possible to rapidly increase (or decrease) the amount of information the brain can store?
A new international study led by the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) suggests is may be. Their research has identified a molecule that improves brain function and memory recall is improved. Published in the latest issue of Cell Reports, the study has implications for neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases, such as autism spectral disorders and Alzheimer’s disease.